Youth Tobacco Prevention Programs
Youth tobacco prevention programs supported by RAI companies, like Right Decisions Right Now and We Card, operating in conjunction with other programs with the same goal, have played an important role in the decline in youth tobacco use during the past 27 years.
Right Decisions Right Now: Be Tobacco Free (RDRN)
Started in 1991, RDRN is a free and easily accessed youth tobacco prevention program for use by middle-school educators, parents and community groups. Funded by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, the evidence-based program was independently developed and tested, and seeks to equip youth with skills they need to handle peer pressure and to make healthy lifestyle decisions, including the decision not to use tobacco products.
RDRN materials are designed for easy use: in middle schools; at home, through materials that parents and grandparents can download from the RDRN website; through scout programs, church, youth and sports organizations; and in other forums where trusted adults can provide youth with the information and skills they need to learn.
In 2017, RDRN set another record level of employee engagement. The number of employee presenters reached an all-time high of 864, breaking the record of 493 set the previous year. Policy changes in late 2016 made the number of non-profits for which each employee can earn grants unlimited. In 2017, 444 youth-oriented organizations (a 60 percent increase) received $432,000 in grants from R.J. Reynolds for participating in the program. The RDRN Program’s goal is to increase the number of our companies’ employees who participate in the RDRN employee participation program year-over-year.
RDRN PARTICIPATION BY YEAR
R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company’s Right Decisions Right Now: Be Tobacco Free (RDRN) program has long partnered with the Boy Scouts of America, and continues to gain momentum in increasing awareness among teens of the dangers of tobacco use. Read more about our partnership with the Boy Scouts here.
In 1995, R.J. Reynolds was a founding supporter of the We Card program, readily recognized by its yellow-and-red retail sign stating “Under 18, No Tobacco: We Card.” The program offers retailers materials and training to help them stop the sale of tobacco products to minors.
Today, 23 years later, the We Card program is widely accepted across the country as the premier tobacco sales training and education program for retailers, and R.J. Reynolds continues to be a strong supporter of that program. In 2017, governors in 38 states recognized We Card in its 22nd anniversary year of the national non-profit organization for providing training and education to help retailers comply with age-restricted product laws and serve their communities as responsible retailers. We Card’s online training includes real-life video scenarios where retailers are challenged with photos of fake IDs and portrayals of youth who are not of legal age. Store employees are required to respond in the online training to properly validate identification before any tobacco sale is completed. To date:
- We Card has held over 2,100 classroom training sessions in all 50 states in the U.S. and U.S. territories;
- Over 440,000 owners, managers, and frontline employees have been trained by We Card;
- 44 state coalitions have been assembled to support state-level training and education;
- 237 regional, state and local trade associations support the We Card program;
- Over 1.18 million We Card kits that include materials to aid in verifying the age of a buyer have been distributed to retailers nationwide; and
- State government agencies in 25 states have supported the We Card program and at various times over the years, governors and state attorneys general have endorsed or expressed support for the We Card program.
As impressive as these numbers may be, the most important achievement of We Card and other programs and efforts like it is that FDA audits show that the illegal sale of tobacco products to minors has been reduced dramatically. The FDA has completed more than 587,377 retail compliance checks involving minors since 2011. In 2017, 87 percent of retailers successfully confirmed the purchasers’ age during retail compliance checks.